The Union Public Service Commission on Monday said it would be “impossible” to postpone the preliminary civil service exam, scheduled on October 4, as sought by a group of petitioners who have cited the pandemic.
The bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari asked the UPSC counsel, Naresh Kaushik, to file an affidavit in support of his oral submission and posted the next hearing to October 1.
Some 20-odd civil service aspirants have petitioned the court to postpone the exam – being held offline — by at least two to three months lest thousands of candidates get infected by the coronavirus.
Kaushik told the court orally that the UPSC had already deferred the exam once, from September 30, and there could not be any further postponements.
“My lords, it is impossible to agree to the petitioners’ plea — deferment will nullify the very objective…” he said.
An estimated six lakh students have registered to take the exam at 70-odd centres across the country.
The petitioners —Vasireddy Govardhana Sai Prakash and others — have described the authorities’ decision to proceed with the exams as “arbitrary” and “whimsical”, saying it reflects utter disregard for the safety of the candidates.
They have said this is a violation of the examinees’ fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21.
Besides, they have argued that in many parts of the country, floods will make it difficult for the candidates to take the exams.